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Women and Family Care

Caring for mom after a C-section birth and loss

Recovering from a Cesarean section is similar to recovering from other major abdominal surgeries. After a C-section, it is very important that you get proper rest so your body has a chance to heal.

Incision care

  • Hold your incision with your fingers or a pillow for support when rising from bed or chairs or when coughing or sneezing.
  • Take pain medicine as needed as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
  • Wear loose clothes and waist-high cotton underwear with feminine pads to prevent rubbing on the incision site.
  • Keep incision and paper tape (Steri-strips) clean by washing and drying with a blowdryer.
  • Call your healthcare provider if you have redness, separation, increased pain or drainage from your incision.
  • Your healthcare provider may want to see you two weeks after delivery to make sure your incision is healing properly.

Scar management

After a C-section, the scar across your abdomen can become tight, restrictive, and sensitive. Scar management can aid in good healing as well as the scar appearance and mobility. Keeping the incision dry and infection free are the first steps toward managing the scar. When the incision is well healed with no scabs (wait at least six weeks) and is infection free, you may begin scar massage. Lotion or oil can be used but is not necessary.

  • Massage the scar by rubbing up and down on the scar.
  • Stroke along the length of the scar.
  • Roll the scar between your finger and thumb.
  • Pick up or pluck up the scar from the underlying tissue using your finger and thumb.

Scar massage can be performed daily for five to 10 minutes. The scar is continuing to change until it is white/light pink (six months to one year). Continued scar massage during this time can be beneficial. If the scar is too sensitive to massage, begin with desensitizing the scar by rubbing it with a soft material. Start out with a cotton ball and work up to a terry cloth towel until the scar can tolerate light pressure. If you continue to have issues with scar pain or tightness, physical therapy may help. Call 970.495.8454 to discuss your concerns with one of our women's health physical therapists or to schedule an appointment.

Bowel function

  • Surgery and anesthesia can slow bowel activity, causing nausea, heartburn, gas or discomfort.
  • Help is provided by:
    • Increasing activity, especially walking.
    • Avoiding gas-causing foods, carbonated drinks, ice cold fluids and greasy foods.
    • Taking anti-gas medicine containing simethicone.
    • Drinking warm fluids such as mint tea.
    • Lying on right side for 20 minutes after eating.
    • Placing a heating pad on low on your abdomen, but avoid incision area.
    • When on the toilet position yourself with feet flat. You may try a small step stool under your feet to assist in having a bowel movement.

Urinary function

  • Your urinary catheter is used for one to two days after surgery.
  • Your urine output is watched after catheter is removed.
  • Empty your bladder often to decrease chances of infection and prevent incision pain from bladder pressure.
  • Pelvic pain and incontinence should end within six to eight weeks after you have your baby; incontinence is not a normal part of aging or life after childbirth. Pain can develop in the pelvic floor with sex or other activities postpartum but this can be corrected. Physical therapy can be beneficial for some women to address these problems. If this continues to be an issue for you, discuss physical therapy with your physician. Call our physical therapy department at 970.495.8454 with questions or to schedule an appointment.
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